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France 1-1 Ukraine: 5 Talking Points as Ukraine force share of the spoils against World champions | FIFA World Cup Qualifiers 2022

France vs Ukraine - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier
France vs Ukraine - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier
Harsh Pillai
Modified 25 Mar 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

A Presnel Kimpembe own goal allowed Ukraine to leave Paris with a point as reigning champions France began their FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign on a disappointing note.,

France took the lead courtesy a beautiful curling strike from Antoine Griezmann. The Barcelona forward unleashed an inch-perfect shot from outside the box to put Les Bleus ahead after 19 minutes, beating the Ukrainian goalkeeper Heorhiy Bushchan with ease.

Continuing their first-half dominance, France looked to extend their lead after the interval. However, against the run of play, Ukraine restored parity in the 57th minute, as Presnel Kimpembe inadvertently turned the ball into his own net.

Kingsley Coman and Kylian Mbappe looked to restore France's lead but couldn't do so, with goal-scorer Griezmann also struggling to create anything significant.

With the hard-fought draw, Andriy Shevchenko's men, who have beaten the likes of Portugal and Spain, are unbeaten in their last nine World Cup or Euro qualifying games.

On that note, let's take a look at the five talking points from the game.

#1 Olivier Giroud's profligacy hurts France

France vs Ukraine - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier
France vs Ukraine - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier

A game where Ukraine created close to zero clear-cut chances, France created a few opportunities up front.

Olivier Giroud, France's second-highest top scorer of all time, however, failed to convert a regulation tap-in from ten yards out. Moments later, the Chelsea forward headed a brilliant Pavard cross high over the crossbar.

These were two chances which he normally puts away. Giroud's profligacy in front of goal inhibited France's attack to the extent that Didier Deschamps took off the striker for Paul Pogba in the 63rd minute.

#2 Ukraine choke France with their formation and tactics

Andriy Shevchenko - Ukraine Manager
Andriy Shevchenko - Ukraine Manager

Andriy Shevchenko has shown plenty of trust in his defensive 5-3-2 set-up, which switches into a 3-5-2 during possession for Ukraine. Although France exploited the wide areas quite comfortably in the first half, they were not given any space to run behind the Ukrainian defence after conceding the equaliser.

France asked questions of the Ukrainian back three. But the reigning champions did not have a sniff at goal in the final 30 minutes of the game.

France's wingers were always accompanied by two defenders, while the two strikers up front for Ukraine attempted to run the channels, attacking the wide areas left by Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard. Les Bleus had 18 attempts but only three shots on target, which summed up the story of the game.

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Published 25 Mar 2021, 09:52 IST
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